Follow-up after treatment for stomach cancer

Last medical review:

Follow-up after treatment is an important part of cancer care. Follow-up for stomach cancer is often shared among the cancer specialists, such as your oncologist and surgeon, and your family doctor. Your healthcare team will work with you to decide on follow-up care to meet your needs.

Don't wait until your next scheduled appointment to report any new symptoms and symptoms that don't go away. Tell your healthcare team if you have:

  • pain or an increase in pain
  • difficulty eating or swallowing
  • vomiting
  • weight loss
  • fatigue
  • swelling of the abdomen

Schedule for follow-up visits

There is no standard follow-up schedule for stomach cancer. Talk to your doctor about follow-up visits and if a schedule is needed.

During follow-up visits

During a follow-up visit, your healthcare team will usually ask questions about the side effects of treatment and how you're coping.

Your doctor may do a physical exam, including feeling for swelling in the abdomen.

Tests are often part of follow-up care. You may have:

  • an upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy to check if cancer has come back in the stomach or other parts of the GI tract
  • complete blood counts and blood chemistry tests to check your general health
  • blood tests to check if you are lacking vitamin B12, iron or other nutrients (especially if you've had all or part of your stomach removed)
  • tumour marker tests, such as carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) or carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA19-9), to check if the cancer has come back
  • imaging tests, such as CT scans or x-rays, to check if the cancer has come back in other parts of the body like the liver or lungs

If the cancer has come back, you and your healthcare team will discuss a plan for your treatment and care.

Questions to ask about follow-up

To make the decisions that are right for you, ask your healthcare team questions about follow-up.

Expert review and references

  • Michael Sanatani , MD, FRCPC

Medical disclaimer

The information that the Canadian Cancer Society provides does not replace your relationship with your doctor. The information is for your general use, so be sure to talk to a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions or if you have questions about your health.

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